Expert Music Career Advice For DIY Musicians

Couch-Crashing Etiquette: 5 Ways to Tour on a Budget, Be a Decent Human

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If you’re serious about the success of your band, then touring is a no-brainer. But for bands hitting the road to build a following, funds for food, booze and a place to lay your head are limited. For many musicians, economical touring means crashing on couches and floors in strangers’ homes. This already-somewhat-awkward arrangement can be made a lot worse by being a lousy house guest. Here are five tips for being the kind of gracious guest your host will want to ask back the next time you swing through town.

1. Take it easy on the booze

“I had a young band come stay with me a few years ago. They played early in the night, and we hung out to watch the other bands on the bill. We were all drinking, but one guy in particular was really putting it away. After we went to bed that night, I heard someone bumping around in the hallway. I went to investigate, and he was peeing in a basket of clean laundry.” Karen, Omaha, Neb.

2. Keep it tidy

“We had a band come in town for a festival. They were staying for a few nights, and we gave the living room over to them. Every morning, they spent a few minutes folding up their things, packing used clothes back into bags and generally cleaning up after themselves. It was a nice gesture of respect for our space.” Noah, Athens, Ga.

3. Bring a token of gratitude

My roommate and I host bands regularly. We try to really take care of them, by cooking them breakfast, letting them do their laundry at our house, showing them around town – whatever we can. Our favorite guests have come prepared with something to give back. Sometimes it’s a copy of their current record, sometimes they make sure to get us a drink at the venue. One really stellar guest left us with some nice coffee and a piece of her art. No matter how small the gesture, making sure you show some gratitude is a great way to get invited back, or referred to other rad hosts in different cities.

4. Or, show your gratitude by helping out

“I have a dog, and I usually have to come home on my lunch break to let her out. One of the musicians who stayed with me, this singer-songwriter, offered to take care of her. Not only did he make sure she got her afternoon walk, he took her around town with him when he went out to check out the city. It was a real treat for her, since she usually stays inside all day, and I really appreciated it. He didn’t have to do that.” Griffin, Austin, Texas

5. Go the fuck to sleep

I asked the roommate what her number one band hotel horror story was. “Before you lived with me, just lots and lots of nights of people not wanting to go the fuck to sleep…. Been telling bands to go the fuck to sleep since May '09,” she said.

We get it. You’re on tour. You’re having a crazy adventure with your music friends. We still have to be at the office in the morning. Go to bed.

6. Don't try to hook up with your host unless you're pretty darn sure they want to hook up with you, too

“I had one of those bands staying with me who I wanted to stay up all night with. We were just having so much fun. But when everyone else went outside to have a cigarette, the lead singer (who had a girlfriend) started trying to get me to let him come sleep in my bed. The next day, we all went out to brunch, and everyone in the band seemed to think it was a big joke, but it just made me feel icky and uncomfortable in my own house.” Chelsea, New York

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